New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced on Sunday that the state is altering its new quarantine guidelines for health care workers coming back from treating Ebola patients in West Africa. The change comes after significant pushback from public-health groups working in Ebola-affected countries, as well as the White House.
Originally, Cuomo and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie announced a joint initiative to require a governmental quarantine for 21 days for all health care workers flying into their states. Illinois soon followed suit. But under the new guidelines, Cuomo said returning health care workers can instead quarantine themselves in their homes for 21 days, and will receive at least two unannounced house calls from local health officials.
The state will provide services like food and medicine if the health-care worker needs it. Health care workers will also monitor their symptoms, as has been the standard for the vast majority of people returning from work in the region. “If their organization does not pay for the three weeks, we will,” Cuomo said during a press conference Sunday night.
The initial guidelines caused controversy. TIME learned that the decision was made without the input of New York City health commissioner Dr. Mary Bassett or Mayor Bill de Blasio. Public-health groups expressed concern that the new regulations would hamper their efforts to recruit volunteers under the new rules, and on Friday, a nurse named Kaci Hickox landed in Newark Liberty International Airport from Sierra Leone and was forcibly quarantined in a tent at a nearby hospital. She ultimately tested negative for Ebola, and has hired a lawyer.
So far, Governor Christie has remained steadfast his decision.
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